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We have had some cold frosty days of late, the gardener within is longing to get out into the garden and get started!
Take some time out, remember to have some ‘you time’, wrap up warm and enjoy the winter sun.
The stems from last year standing tall, covered in glistening frost on the roadside look magnificent, the cobwebs standing out too. We can take time out to appreciate the simple things and clear our minds.
Housekeeping is something to do now, never mind bottoming the house and spring cleaning, let’s talk tools. If you haven’t had chance to make sure your tools are all in order for the coming season, now is the time. Ideally this should be done at the end of each season, if not, find some time to get into the shed. It’s a great habit to get into, clean tools after each use brushing off any soil and making sure they are dry.
Keep shears and secateurs nice and sharp, it makes for a nice clean cut when using them and makes work much easier, replace blades on saws too. It really does pay to invest in good quality tools that will last well. Keep an oily rag to hand to wipe blades and keep moving parts greased.
Greenhouses need to be cleaned thoroughly too to prevent pests and diseases, also pots and trays that will be reused.
If you have room to make any additions to the garden, now is an ideal time with it being the dormant season, make sure you do this when the ground is free from frost on milder days. Plant bare-rooted deciduous shrubs, roses and hedging before they start to grow. A good balance needs to considered, at least 60% evergreen for all year round colour. Be sure to include winter flowering and scented shrubs.
An absolute stunner, Daphne Odora is a must for its beautiful fragrant flowers. Philadelphus, a deciduous shrub flowering in spring offers an impressive scent. Cornus otherwise known as Dogwood is another great choice for winter interest, there are many varieties with vibrant colourful stems.
Some gardens get forgotten once the summer ends, but you really can keep it going with a beautiful range of plants, add structure where needed and fill gaps. Remember to check the size when fully grown, ideally, they should have room to spread, fill out and be themselves without needing to be shaped too much or cut back. Smaller plants can be overplanted for impact to fill gaps at the front of the border and later thinned out if necessary.
Late flowering Clematis - be sure to check how to do this if you’re not sure. Wisteria, cutting back summer side shoots. Winter flowering Jasmine – after flowering cut back to 2- 3 buds then tie stems to train them. Cut back ornamental grasses that have been left for winter interest. Summer flowering deciduous shrubs can be pruned up until March. Make sure you leave spring-flowering shrubs!
Next month we will be talking about wildlife in the garden, lawncare, what veg seeds to sow and rose pruning.